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Pataudi’s cousin tipped as next Pak ISI chief
Published on 11 May. 2011 12:00 AM IST
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The upper echelons of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence appear set for major makeover. As per reports, Tuesday, the ouster of present incumbent Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha is imminent over his failure to detect bin Laden’s presence within sniffing distance from Islamabad.
According to Zee News report, Pasha is already on an extension and, if reports are to be believed, the Pakistan government is “looking for a fall guy to be blamed for the Laden debacle”, so as to allay domestic and international fears of a fundamentalist takeover of the spy agency. Among the front runners to succeed Pasha is Major General Isfandiyar Ali Pataudi - the first cousin of former Indian cricket captain Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi.
Isfandiyar’s father, Major General Nawabzada Mohammad Ali Pataudi, was the younger brother of Mansur Ali Khan’s father Iftikhar Ali Khan. At the time of partition, Major General Nawabzada Mohammad decided to stay in Pakistan and joined the Pakistan Army, while his elder brother stayed back to pursue a diplomatic career.
As per reports, Maj Gen Isfandiyar Ali Pataudi was appointed a deputy director-general of ISI a few weeks ago and he stands a good chance to be anointed Pasha’s successor. Isfandiyar Ali Pataudi’s liberal moorings and aristocratic background may work in his favour particularly at a time when Islamabad in under scrutiny for allowing a fundamentalist takeover of the intelligence agency. Not only being uncle to film stars Saif Ali Khan and Soha Ali Khan, General Isfandiyar has another India connection as he was a classmate of current Chief of the Indian Army, General VK Singh.
, at the Army War College in the US, a few years ago.

Isfandiyar Pataudi was one of the first top ranking officers who were sent by the Pakistan Army to US military institutions after the restoration of bilateral military ties between Islamabad and Islamabad that had strained after the 1998 nuclear tests and 1999 military coup.

Indian military establishment had viewed Isfandiyar Pataudi’s selection in the first batch of officers for American courses as a calculated move by Islamabad to project a liberal face.

Isfandiyar Pataudi as the ISI Chief would be keenly watched by India as it holds the view that the al Qaida and other terror groups have a lot of traction with the spy agency.

Surely, his royal ancestry and liberal values will be put to test in his role as the chief of intelligence organization, which deliberately runs hate-India campaigns and is rated a semi-criminal enterprise by its counterparts in India.

Pataudi’s personality has another side too; he is an accomplished polo player, and is the chairman of the Pakistan Polo Association.

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